What is Digital Printing Process?
The digital printing process involves printing on different media like paper, fabric, acrylic, plastic, etc., directly from a digital image. It is professionally done print work and small jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources which are printed via inkjet printers of large format or high volume.
Digital printing is certainly more expensive per page than conventional methods; however, the cost of making printing plates is eliminated, bringing down the overall cost. Digital printing can also be done on demand and in a short time; images can be easily altered for each impression as well. With its huge savings in labor and rapidly improving capabilities, digital printing has slowly begun to match the ability of offset printing. It is now possible to print thousands of sheets at a low price with digital printing. Get some details on digital printing vs offset printing.
The most popular printers used digital printing processes are inkjet and laser printers that drop pigments or toners on numerous substrates like paper, glass, canvas, metal, fabric, marble, and plastic. Usually the ink or toner only forms a slim layer on the surface without permeating the substrate – which happens in traditional methods. A fuser fluid with heat process is used for toner and UV curing process is used for ink so that it adheres firmly to the substrate. Checkout some print finishing techniques.
Now that we have understood the digital printing process let us see the steps involved in printing it. Now obviously the first step is getting your design ready; some customers may outsource the designing job to the printing company, and some may want to create it themselves. If you would like to create the design yourself, here is what you need to do.
Generate an Idea
You need to be very clear about what you want to achieve with your design; who are you targeting? What is the purpose – brainstorm till you are absolutely sure of the ‘why’ in the first place.
Use Appropriate Content
Once you are clear with the main idea – begin the artwork. Your content can include logos, pictures, and text. If you want the branding message to be driven into the customers’ minds, be sure to use colors, visuals and text that represent your brand and company. Keep some basic content easily accessible, so that in future you can save time.
Keep it Professional
You’re putting forward your company’s image – so keep it professional, otherwise it can hurt your reputation. Outsource the designing to a professional if you cannot afford a full-time in-house designer. Even if you have to pay a hefty amount, the design is yours for good, and you can reuse the design whenever you want. Professional designs can help you build your reputation, and earns trust – whether it’s an ad, your logo, or even giveaways.
This is an absolute must whenever you create content for any purpose. Go over your content with a fine-tooth comb, and ensure that there are no grammar errors, address, dates, spelling mistakes, and so on. Finalize the product only when you’re absolutely sure of its perfection.
Ready your Work for Printing
You need to save your design in the correct print-ready format. It should be saved in CMYK format and in 300dpi (dots per inch). This ensures preservation of the quality and keeps it ready for the digital printing process. If you don’t save it in 300 dpi, the pixels will get disintegrated because of the low-resolution image, and the final image may be impacted. Your final design should ideally have a bleed area in addition to a border.
You then take your design to the printing company, and step 3 is where you will be next.
If you’re not going to do the designing yourself, but would rather have the printing company help you with it, then you begin from Step 1 and continue. So let’s take a look at the steps now:
Some digital printing companies have their own artists who create custom designs based on your requirements and instructions. They may have a detailed discussion or meeting to understand your requirements fully. Once the design is ready, the customer (you) will be emailed the mockup; any changes you recommend will be incorporated, and the final version will be sent to the customer again. Once you give the go-ahead, only then will we move to the next step.
When the final design is approved, the artwork is saved in the appropriate format with the correct resolution as mentioned earlier, to make it easy for the printer to recognize and print the product without error.
First, the print heads are cleaned with a special fluid so that they don’t become dry and suffer damage. This step is repeated after every 100 prints; sometimes the heads need to be cleaned even before 100 prints are completed, depending on the amount of color in the print.
In this phase a series of checks are conducted. With every printing, some waste ink is produced by the printer, and it is collected in a drum. This drum needs to be monitored, and regularly emptied to ensure that no ink spills out. The printing machine has a container of cleaner; whenever the cleaner levels get low, it is replenished. This cleaner is critical to the printing process, and hence care has to be taken to make sure that the printer never runs out of this cleaner. Every time the printer stops and restarts, it uses a certain amount of cleaner – and insufficient cleaner could damage the heads. The ink temperature also needs to be checked; the printer needs to operate at a temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C. a temperature outside this range could cause damage to the printer heads.
The stage is set for printing the customer’s artwork on the product they desire once all the checks have been conducted successfully.
There are different sized pallets to hold the product. Depending on what is being printed on, the appropriate sized pallet is attached to the machine, and the product is laid out on it, ready for printing.
The material or product to be printed is laid absolutely flat on the board without any creases. If there are any creases, the print will be distorted.
The digital printer begins the actual printing by moving the print heads from side to side, on the material, spraying the design on to it.
The material or product is removed from the pallet with great care once the printing is complete. It is then conveyed through a huge dryer at the appropriate temperature, to ensure that the print is baked onto the item, or adheres securely.
The last step is the quality check. Once we are satisfied about the quality, the products are packaged and readied to be dispatched.
Digital printing is very popular in India, and in the textile sector, it is fast growing in popularity as digital prints offer greater clarity. In fact, industry experts predict a higher demand for digitally printed fabrics. Digital printing offers you more variety, and faster turnaround time, in addition to clarity and reduced overall expenditure. There are different types of digital printing equipments also.
If you’re looking for a reliable digital printing machine company in India, contact us at Curated Graphic Supplies . We have state of the art equipment, dedicated workforce, and one of the fastest turnaround times in the industry.